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Bridging Knowledge Cultures

The Bridging Knowledge Cultures project is funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. Through the project, we aim to identify and facilitate the flow of knowledge about bridging differences in knowledge cultures and power relations between partners in each of the 14 K4C hubs. The project focusses on analyzing different ways in which knowledge is understood, constructed, validated and used in academic and non-academic settings, and the practical obstacles that such differences create for working across knowledge cultures. The ultimate objective of this project is the development of a new framework for a systemic and contextually-situated approach to co-production of knowledge.

Knowledge production is a core function of higher education Institutions. One way of producing knowledge has been through research partnerships with external stakeholders such as community organisations. The challenge for academics in building mutually-beneficial partnerships is: how can they achieve real involvement with their partner organization? The ‘top-down’ approach in university-led research has been widely practiced, which is evident from various studies. A global survey that examined institutional structures facilitating community-university research partnerships around the world found that 60% of respondents affiliated to a community organization rarely or never jointly submitted a research proposal when working in collaborative research partnerships. This points to a serious lack of equity and decision-making power.

To address these inequities in knowledge production and dissemination, Bridging Knowledge Cultures project has been established. It will help to create new principles for effective co-creation of knowledge between academic and non-academic researchers; enhance understanding of the differences in knowledge cultures in academic and non-academic settings; facilitate research collaboration; and augment local and national policy development. Project members will explore ways of bridging diverse knowledge so that power inequalities between collaborating partners are taken into consideration to make community-university research partnerships sustainable and secure over time. Through this project, we will achieve our overarching goal of generating a new framework for a systemic and contextually-situated approach to co-production of knowledge. We will examine and then facilitate the exchange of knowledge and bridge power inequalities between knowledge cultures.

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